May Morning on Magdalen Tower William Holman Hunt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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May Morning on Magdalen Tower is one of the best artistic works done by William Holman Hunt. The art was done between the year 1888 and 1890. The painting features choristers who are in a session. On the left side is the choirmaster who is conducting the team. The man is recognized as Dr. Roberts.

The people in the choir are professors and his colleagues of Magdalen College, Oxford. The painting is a portrait, and thus not everyone in the picture attended the ceremony. The ceremony was done on the first day of May, hence the name May Morning on Magdalen Tower. The painting shows that the session was done in the morning due to the colour used to represent the sun. The choir members are surrounded by flowers which make the picture look beautiful. Also, the white costume worn by the choir members exhibits a peaceful moment.

Hunt also includes birds flying in the air which symbolizes that it was a beautiful day. The blue colour used on the sky makes the picture look lively. The clouds in the sky have been painted in a unique way which shows that Hunt was a great artist. The pillars of Magdalene tower have been clearly depicted in the painting. The brown colour used is dark enough to be recognized by someone who is not near the picture. Hunt loved the ceremony which was a custom for Oxford. He believed the event brought out the poetic side of the college, and it improved unity. Therefore, he always wanted to make a painting about the ceremony. The painting was well received by the art industry as many people used it to teach art.

May Morning on Magdalen tower has the dimensions of 154.5 cm (60.8") which is the height and a width of 200 cm (78.7"). The medium of the painting is oil on canvas. It is different from his other paintings which used to be about one person or at most three. This painting had more than fifteen people. The clouds and the sky brushwork resembled the ones on Christ and the two Marys (1847 and 1897). William Holman Hunt loved colours and it can be seen in his paintings. His work was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle. He also loved the work of John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who he worked with, and they founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. May Morning on Magdalene Tower can be found at Lady Lever Art Gallery.